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July 7

Sewing Applique Darts

Even though I haven’t fully completed my applique seams, I needed to sew up some of the darts.  So I decided to take another plunge and try my hand at applique darts.

I thought the regular applique seams were tough but now I had to cut through the lace in the middle of the bodice!!!  I had to muster up all of my guts for this one.

If you didn’t know I was doing an applique dart, I bet you’d think I just messed up my whole dress.  The first step is to baste your dart seams like normal.  Then, using my hands I just held the dart closed and eyed which motifs should be retained and which can get ignored.

You’d be surprised, I ended up retaining the smaller motifs near the apex of the dart instead of the larger motifs near the bottom.  Before starting the applique, I would have assumed that the larger motifs should be retained since they cover more space and would be more noticeable if they were removed.  But I found on this project that when I lapped the larger motifs to the other side of the seam it made everything else around it too busy and ended up being quite noticeable.  So retaining the smaller motifs ended up looking more seamless than retaining the larger ones.  Who would have thought?!

After more basting and pinning, I managed to sew up the dart.  As you can see below, I’ve lifted up one of the applique pieces I’ve cut away that will lap to the right side of the dart, on top of the lace.  The basting lines I made on my applique pieces (made using the the original dart seam lines) tell me where I need to line it up on the dart seam below on the pink underlining.

I’m not sure if you can see this, but there is a large flower at the base of my dart seam line, just to the right.  I initially wanted to retain this motif since it’s so large, but lapping it to the other side was really bad.  All I saw was a dark blob which covered up all of the pink silk underlining.  So I stitched it into the dart instead of retaining it.

Here’s the same dart, without my pale arm in the shot, holding up the applique bit.  Do you see how the basting lines fall directly on the stitching line of the dart?  Nifty right?!

With all of these new techniques I’m learning, I’m really starting to rely on my basting and stitching lines.  I really try to retain all of my basting until I’m fully satisfied with my machine stitching.

This is the second applique dart I sewed up on the right side of the bodice.  And again, I’m lifting up the applique piece that will be sewn to the other side of the dart.

Again, this is a shot of the right applique dart, but without my arm in the way.  You can see how the applique bits lap over to the other side of the dart.

From here, I’m going to have to do lots of hand stitching since I need to affix all of these applique bits to the fabric using either a small mattress stitch or a fell stitch.  I’m going to have to test each of them out to see which I like the look of best.  Luckily I don’t detest hand sewing like I used to.  What makes it fun for me is the fact that I can use my laptop to watch movies at my sewing table/dining room table while I do all of my hand sewing.

But to me it’s starting to look like a real bodice.  Weeeeee!  I can’t wait to work on this some more over the weekend.

If anyone has any questions about this technique please leave a comment.  As with all of these new techniques I’m using, I hope to create some tutorials for you all.  I haven’t wanted to turn this project into a tutorial, since this is the first time I’m learning it myself.  I’d rather make all the mistakes myself first and to have more experience with it myself to be able to do tell you some tricks and what not to do.

  1. Andrea / Jul 7 2011

    I’ve been following your adventures with the lace application for this dress and I must confess I’m super impressed. Can’t wait to see the finished product – I’m sure it’ll be fabulous!

  2. Stephanie / Jul 7 2011

    Every time you post about this dress, I get more excited! It’s so cool to see all of the new techniques you are learning! It’s going to be awesome!

  3. Clare S / Jul 7 2011

    Ooh, this looks amazing and terrifying all at once! All that cutting into the lace – eep! You go girl, cause this is looking fabulous!

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